Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Is

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was that quiet go-to-grandmas-eat-lots-of-food-and-be-bored-the-rest-of-the-day holiday.  Compared to Christmas, Thanksgiving was just a halfhearted warm up act.  Sure, it was nice to be with family and share a big, hearty meal, but it was not a big deal to me.

Over the years, my perspective has changed.  We first started hosting Thanksgiving nine years ago.  We had just bought our house that summer and I said offhandedly that it would be great to host a holiday, but not this year because it was just too soon.  We hosted anyway – hectic, learning, and chaotic, but I’m glad we did it.  

The next year, I was pregnant with our first child.  The idea of being thankful seemed so important, so integral to how life should be that I was grateful that this was our holiday to host.  I made handmade card invitations, started to buy Thanksgiving d├ęcor, looked for ways to make this OUR holiday.  We started speaking out our thankfulness before the prayer and I was brought to tears nearly every time.  

Each year that passes, I am overwhelmed by all that I have to be thankful for.  It seems to me that over time this holiday – Thanksgiving – is what should matter most.  

Thanksgiving is:

  • Friends and family together sharing and loving each other – even when we don’t understand or like each other all the time.
  • Reminiscing, laughing, storytelling, traditions.
  • Food, warmth, pumpkins, turkey, and stuffing.
  • Brokenness…realizing that all we have – life, health, shelter, food, breath is a gift from God – grace for this moment – undeserved favor.

How can we not bow before God and offer thanks for each moment?  How can we forget that each moment of life is a gift?  I don’t live this thankfulness as I should – today being a prime example of my irritation and anger and shaking of my fist at all that annoys and inconveniences me – even the people that should matter the most. 

So come Thanksgiving, come to us broken ones – so that we can weigh down time with grace and peace and a bit of joy to move us forward. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Growing Up?

As the years go by and I watch my children grow, I’m convinced that I should know what I’m doing, where I’m going, exactly what I want.  But instead of it all becoming clear, it’s as if my vision grows cloudy.
Over the past year and five months I feel like I’ve tried a little bit of everything – simple things maybe, but important for me to pass through for some reason.  I have:

  • Started my own business and worked it
  • Cut coupons
  • Joined a women’s Bible study
  • Baked bread and pizza dough
  • Made homemade soup
  • Went on play dates
  • Joined MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)
  • Read books and discussed them with friends
  • Started reading the Bible and stuck with it
  • Got to know my neighbors better
  • Enjoyed picnics
  • Crafted coffee drinks
  • Drank new local beers
  • Edited a friend’s book
  • Wrote a bit
  • Started a venture in direct sales
  • Shopped resale shops
  • Drafted letters and emails and thank you notes

I really enjoyed all of those things listed and it was great to try so many new things in that time.  As I mentioned in a previous post, God has asked me to start stripping away many of these things.  As I’ve removed some of them, I found that others in the list are no longer enjoyable to me and have naturally fizzled out.  It has all left me a bit confounded by it all.  Many of the things I used to crave doing when I was working are just no longer exciting now that I have the time for them, but what is frustrating is that there are so few things on this list now that I’m wondering what is wrong with me.  Is this disinterest from God – where my heart, soul, and mind lay open waiting for His Spirit to work?  Or is it more sinister – a stealing of joy in this everyday life – getting lost in the mundane instead of celebrating it?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but rest assured, I am looking and praying and searching for this path that God is leading me onward to.  I’m finding that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I’m surprised at the many people my age who identify with what I’m going through.  I think that if we continually stand open to the Spirit’s leading, this may happen to us often.  And trust me, I’m not truly open yet, but I feel as though God is chipping away at this stone, cold heart.  The process is slow and painful and I don’t know what it all means or where it will all lead.  But I’m trying my best to be still and open to the possibilities.